Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mae West: Nella Walker

MAE WEST starred in "Klondike Annie" [released in February 1936] and Nella Walker was seen as a missionary.
• • Nella Walker [6 March 1886 — 22 March 1971] • •
• • Born in Chicago in early March — — on Saturday, 6 March 1886   — — was a charming child named Nella Walker. She was a saleslady in the Windy City when a gust of love for Wilbur Mack resulted in wedding bells and being half of a vaudeville team, Mack and Walker.
• • In 1929, she set out to conquer the cinema at the age of 43.  RKO Radio Pictures boasted that their new musical "Tanned Legs" was "all dialogue" and a "drama gay and daring as a beach petting party." [A botched Wikipedia entry describes this "all dialogue" motion picture as a silent movie. Ha-ha. Hilarious, eh?] Nella Walker was in the credited cast and worked with two actresses who would later appear with Mae West in her films: Lita Chevret and Pearl Eaton, whom Nella would meet again 7 years later when Pearl played a dance hall girl in "Klondike Annie."
• • From 1929 — 1954, the five-foot-seven character actress participated in 118 motion pictures, a mix of uncredited bits and featured roles playing wives, relatives, fashion show directors, nurses, truant officers, and marriage clerks.
• • Nella Walker appeared as Maude Larrabee, the wealthy mother of Bogart's character  Linus Larrabee in "Sabrina" [1954], an iconic comedy that also used Mae West's former cast mate Ralph Brooks as a party guest. She was 68 years old and ready for retirement.
• • Nella Walker died in Los Angeles, California on Monday, 22 March 1971. She was 85.
• • On Friday, 6 March 1970 • •
• • Life Magazine's issue dated for Friday, 6 March 1970 gave a back lot glimpse into the peculiar antics afoot on the set of Myra Breckinridge. Calvin Trillin reported that Rex Reed said their director looked like "a wolf with rabies."
• • Read Trillin's article and you'll see how tame Rex Reed's remark was in comparison to other opinions, grumbles, score-settling, and sniping. You'll also find out that Gore Vidal's script was rejected as unfilmmable, and who was hired to doctor the screenplay.
• • On Sunday, 6 March 2005 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Although the literary Sherlock Holmes never came to New York, Basil Rathbone, his great portrayer was once arrested in the city, explained Michael Pollak.
• • In the short item "Egad, Holmes! To Jail?" N.Y. Times columnist Michael Pollak wrote: The night of Feb. 9, 1927, the management and press having been alerted, the police went to the theater and politely arrested Basil Rathbone and 10 other cast members of "The Captive." Bail was quickly posted, and Rathbone escaped jail by promising not to perform in the production again.
• • Michael Pollak continued: Two things particularly irked Rathbone, he wrote later. One was the censorship. The other was that in the public's mind, he and the production had been equated with Mae West, who had been arrested the same night along with much of the cast of "Sex." . . .
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I like to live high up, and hear people moving about, and listen to traffic noises. Makes me feel alive and part of things."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Will Play 'Queen of Sheba'" • •
• • The Hollywood Reporter wrote: Mae West will star in "Queen of Sheba" as her next production, which William LeBaron will handle. Paramount will use the David Boehm story, "For My Country," for the title, purchasing the property through the William Morris office yesterday. The star has cancelled plans for her personal appearances and goes to work on the screen play of her picture immediately on the finish of "It Ain't No Sin." ...
• • Source: Today's Film News Today in Hollywood Reporter; published on Saturday, 21 April 1934 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2597th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

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• • Mae West 1936
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